Press the remote control and the blinds will rise to slowly reveal the neighborhood – it’s like having a royal box overlooking the city. From our room, 514 (which can be combined with 513 to form a family suite), I could directly see the Hofburg Palace, the modest little Habsburg res in town – very slightly distracted by the cocktail cart near from the window. The same view was also possible from the tub (which doesn’t come with cocktails, although that could probably be arranged). Rooms are stylish, and nothing can scare the horses (especially not the well-trained gee-gees from the Spanish Riding School); there are soft gray marbles and burnished orange chairs and sofas that curve to follow the walls, and brassy Art Deco flourishes such as the marble and walnut sinks and beverage cabinets that take pride of place, with shelves bearing a trio of pre-made cocktails and essays by modernist architect Adolf Loos. Connecting all spaces, flowing, linear patterns on rugs, cushions, notebooks and curtains, all by design company Backhausen, a key player in the Wiener Jugendstil movement (that’s Art Nouveau for you) from the beginning of the 20th century. And the effect a handful of playful artwork can have on personalizing a space is pretty amazing. The high-tech Toto toilet (I always assumed the name had nothing to do with Dorothy’s four-legged friend), which yawns wide open when you approach but doesn’t really ask you how it went your day, are still news enough to mention here.
food and drink
Anyone familiar with the bright, well-choreographed pockets of Mittel-Europe created by London maestros Corbin and King (The Delauney, The Wolseley) will immediately feel at home in Neue Hoheit. Rosewood is very good at creating destination restaurants. It’s an all-day performance that pirouettes right from breakfast, when you browse the counters of jewel-like pastries, bircher muesli and charcuterie and point to those you’d like to bring to your table, at dinner, with a menu that digs deep into Austrian traditions and bistro comfort food. A lobster roll here, trout rillette there, a rarely-seen trout niçoise and pumpkin three ways, plus catfish with braised kohlrabi — plus heavy hitters, including a schnitzel sausage so big you could drape it over your lap on a cold day and tafelspitz, a no-frills beef broth with bone marrow and bread with horseradish sauce. And there are strudel and cherry and chocolate pudding creations. Everything is good and full of buttons and very Viennese, but perhaps the menu lacks a chef’s signature or two to set it apart – after all, this is Vienna and there are plenty of places to eat wiener schnitzel and tafelspitz. More individual is the upstairs bar, where the German team of bartenders mixes cocktails based on spirits mapped to various Austrian regions – the best kind of geography lesson – like a water-based gold roof. Tyrolean fruit de vie with gin, caraway seeds and pineapple. The signature Vienna Calling, a chocolatey riff on the Old Fashioned, is topped with a small photo of “Rock Me Amadeus” star Falco.